Little brother, whose palms are clenched, youthful brow furrowed, eyes stern – before you learn to fight – learn to hold, to hug, to cry, to hurt, to heal, to laugh, to drip kindness, to walk with humility, to soften your tongue, touch and gaze, to respect, to care, to hope, to seek, to learn. Little brother, know that the greatest warriors on the field were the gentlest in their homes. Little brother, before you learn to fight, don’t forget to learn to love.
Between what parts my lips in prose, and what lies unsheathed, and hidden deep in heart and mind, is the stretch of an unbridgeable chasm, the expanses of which can only intrigue the intellect.
There’s something absolutely beautiful about the pain that comes from pushing your limits – overstepping your self inflicted boundaries.
Something beautiful about continuing in those moments when every sinew in your body is screaming the complete opposite, when every drill seems to weigh a heavier toll than the next, when your every limb feels on fire, when you’re dazed in the physical intensity of the moment, when you don’t know whether it’s perspiration or tears that blind you, when every inch and ounce of your being tells you to give in – and you don’t. When somehow the grit in you wills you to keep moving forward.
And you keep fighting. Keep pushing. Keep persevering towards that goal. That’s beauty.
Today as I watched the faces of my fellow classmates, set in raw determination, eyes undisturbed, form poised, every fierce movement timed and calculated, yet in complete fluidity, I was in awe…Awe because of the beauty of struggle. The beauty of perseverance – physically and otherwise. The beauty of determination. Awe because of the beauty of these women who were fighting and training – not only against potential harm outside of them, but against the inner struggles only they know of.
Awe because I was witnessing warriors. Beautiful warriors…
Between the bated ebb of your breath – the rising and falling of your chest – in the silence, I heard a battle cry.
Today I was surprised by a reunion with a really good friend of mine after many years, and today I also bid farewell to another as she moves away.
We reminisced,with cats in our laps, over good times, hilarious times, weird times, some cringey times, old times, recent times and yes, we even reminisced about sadder times.
We remembered moments of sheer fright, when the biggest threat to our 7 or 8 year old selves, was a mean, blind dog next door. We remembered multitudes of dainty tea parties with “real milk”, and the time we ran a whole make believe city on our beloved Quran teacher’s front porch, complete with a court system and supermarket ☺️.
We remembered forgotten purple BFF diaries, where we had written all our birthdays on a flowery paper wheel, and turned it every month to see whose was next. We remembered when we stayed back late in class, because we’d forgotten our portion to memorize for the day and we’d whisper together when our teacher would make us dinner.
And we remembered fat envelopes full of letters to each other from throughout the week, filled with whatever wonders, worries and secrets our tinier selves had.
And then the flower wheel turned over many times, and things changed. People came and people went. Many passed by, few stayed. But those who stayed, really stayed, even if not in person, but at heart.
The joy on our faces as we hugged for the first time in a long while is a testament to that bond, that friendship – the way two people glide back to the nature of their relationship after a separation – like a body of water, that after being punctured, gracefully returns to its form.
And as we now began to talk of new times, and new interests, new places, new passions, I was reminded of the fluidity of life.
People will come and go, paths will intertwine and diverge, alike. The only thing that makes a difference is how you choose to impact those people whose lives were connected with yours – how you choose for them to remember you.
And maybe, just maybe, you’ll get surprised by a friend with the brightest smile popping out of a closet to surprise you. (and maybe a small heart attack, but I can’t say I didn’t warn you) 😊
And if you read this, love you guys, A & H❤️
(So this has nothing to do with my writing, but it’s a project I’m working on through Darussalaam, and thought to share it here in case anyone wanted to seize the opportunity and deemed a worthy cause to give to! This was originally posted on my instagram : khadija.o.smith , so if you have any questions about the process, organization, funds, don’t hesitate to contact me! )
‘For years, volunteers at the Darussalaam Da’wah office have been receiving hundreds of heartfelt, handwritten letters, such as the one above, from prison inmates across the United States. Each letter has the marks of hope and longing etched into its words, each attempting to convey a single request. And that request is for books.
Any random books? – you may ask. Very specifically noted within so many letters are requests for *Islamic* book titles covering a variety of subject material – from Wudu and Salah basics to interfaith dialogue and Fiqh – our incarcerated brothers and sisters are in dire need of our assistance in gaining access to the knowledge they deserve.
And at Darussalam, we are trying our utmost to provide them with that, but there are expenses involved with buying new, diversified material and shipping it to different prisons, so I ask you to help us. Help us bring just that much more solace and comfort to someone who is alone, help them get that much closer to their Creator.
As the last ten days of this blessed month of Ramadan dawn upon us, signaling the closure of yet another golden opportunity for forgiveness and gaining His pleasure, I hope you will take this opportunity to give for His sake, with the perspective that these people who will receive your help, were sent your way, not for you to bestow a favor on them, rather for them to help you gain the glad tidings of mercy from Allah for showing mercy to others ❤️ Jazakumullahu Khairan in advance, for the support I know you will give to this cause, and may Allah cause your donation, however much it may be, to weigh hefty on your scales on the Day of Judgement. Ameen.
To donate, please visit : https://www.launchgood.com/project/islamic_books_for_inmates#/ (The link is in my profile as well)
And please don’t hesitate to message me with any questions or thoughts you may have, inshaAllah!
#ramadan #bethelight #letters #helpourbrothers #islam #myreligion #peace #incarceration #hope #ummah #love #mercy #kindness’
Some may have lost some on the way,
And others may have found some to be claimed,
But either way they meet at the junction of wanderers.